“Pooja will join the team [upon recovery], and she will fill that area. Her one or two overs are important. In this series, we had called up extra medium pacers, who we were watching closely. We are working on those, and will try to cover those areas.”
India also had left-arm quicks Monica Patel – who played two ODIs against South Africa last year – and Sraddha Pokharkar, apart from right-armers Arundhati Reddy and Simran Bahadur, as net bowlers during the series.
A pattern to emerge was that India largely kept Australia in check up to 12 overs, but lost control after that. Their economy rate in the last eight overs in the series was 12.26, compared to Australia’s 9.37.
“We will now analyse who can bowl after ten overs and in the death overs. We discussed it in team meetings, but when you are in a series, you don’t get that much time to execute those things”
“We are doing well in the first ten overs and not giving them easy runs. But after the tenth over, suddenly things are changing,” Harmanpreet said. “We did plan a lot of things, but were not able to execute them. Earlier, the first six overs was the area we wanted to improve as a team. Now we are getting results in the first six.
“We will now analyse who can bowl after ten overs and in the death overs. We discussed it in team meetings, but when you are in a series, you don’t get that much time to execute those things.”
Renuka, who has been a powerplay success story with her ability to swing the new ball, was used in the death overs against Australia. Her economy rate in that phase, where she got just one wicket, was 10.87. The most, though marginally, for Indian bowlers to have sent down a minimum of 24 balls in that period.
“[Renuka] is someone who brings in a lot of confidence to the side,” Harmanpreet said. “Whenever the team needs her, she is always ready; and we have always seen her doing well in the first six overs. She really enjoys bowling at the death, and you need a person to raise your hand and say, ‘I like to bowl in the death overs’. She is working hard on her death bowling, and is starting to get the experience now.”
“Harleen is someone who is always ready – be it batting at any spot or just for fielding,” Harmanpreet said. “Last match [in the fourth T20I], she did not get to bat despite being ready from the start but she was not upset, and was [instead] positive. She was like, ‘whenever I get the opportunity I want to go there and execute’.
“We all thought that we should give Jemi a break because we know how important she is. Going forward, it is important that we keep her in that frame. Batting line-up is something you cannot fix in T20s. I know Jemi was batting at No. 3 for a long time.
“But I feel if the batting line-up is flexible, that is good and then you have more options to try things. Today, that was the reason we wanted to see how Harleen can bat at No. 3. She was there, and was getting the momentum. Really happy to see her approach with the bat.”
S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo